Oprah-loving podcasters can’t use talk show host’s name: lawsuit
There can only be one Oprah.
The legendary talk show host’s company, Harpo Inc., is suing rookie podcasters behind “Oprahdemics,” a celebration of all things O.
The podcast leads listeners to believe it has the blessing of Winfrey, the trademark infringement case filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
Kellie Carter Jackson and Leah Wright Rigor are using the Oprahdemics name without permission, slapping it not only on their podcast but also on live events, Harpo Inc. alleged in the legal documents.
Oprah’s name packs a punch, according to the lawsuit.
“Over the past thirty-five years, the Oprah brand has become well known and famous,” Harpo claims in court documents. “Just being associated with the Oprah brand has, in many cases, resulted in an exponential increase in sales of a product or service. This has been colloquially referred to as the “Oprah effect” or “the O factor”.
The first season of the Oprahdemics podcast series ended with a live broadcast
at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 15. Following the event, Jackson and Rigor hosted another Instagram Live event on July 12, according to the complaint.
“Look under your seat…it’s a new podcast!” Two historians (and friends) break down Oprah’s most iconic episodes and what the talk queen has meant to our culture,” the Oprahdemics website, which features Oprah’s signature “O” logo, gushes to About co-hosts Jackson and Rigor.
Harpo, which is Oprah spelled backwards, is not seeking damages. The company wants the podcast to change its name so as not to “dilute” the brand, according to court documents.
Attorneys for Harpo, Inc. did not return messages.
A producer from Roulette Productions, the company behind the podcast, called it “a journalistic exploration by history teachers and sincere, lifelong Oprah Winfrey fans.”
“It comes from a place of both deep admiration and critical thinking. Kellie and Leah are great hosts. Roulette Productions produces ‘Oprahdemics’ and has been engaged with the Harpo team for some time – although really surprised by this, we hope to resolve it,” Jodi Avirgan told The Post.